Thursday, 12 March 2020


Sick and bed-ridden, though the aesthetically-minded Fina dei Ciardi (*1238 - †1253) of San Gimignano insisted on being laid up on a wooden pallet for the remainder of her short life after catching a paralytic disease, the subsequently venerated patroness of the Tuscan town reported that the day—today—and hour of her death was prophesied to her by a vision of Pope Gregory the Great, with which the suffering but uncomplaining girl conceded.

During her protracted illness, residents visited her regularly as a source of inspiration and encouragement and after death several miracles were attributed to her relics—including fragrant violets that sprang from the wood planks she was confined to which still grow along walls and towers of San Gimignano to this day and stopping two bouts of the plague that the town was spared from in 1479 and again in 1631, and is commemorated on the occasion of her passing as well as on the first Sunday in August as a feast of thanksgiving. A hospital constructed and maintained in her honour also contributed to the town’s resilience.